Understanding stories of professional formation during early childhood education and care practice placements

Taylor, Mark. 2018. Understanding stories of professional formation during early childhood education and care practice placements. Irish Educational Studies, 37(2), pp. 227-241. ISSN 0332-3315 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Narrative inquiry as a methodological approach enables us to examine how people represent their experiences and selves through storytelling (Chase, S. E. 2005. ‘Narrative Inquiry: Multiple Lenses, Approaches, Voices.’ In The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, edited by N. Denzin and Y. Lincoln, 651–679. London: Sage). To understand these constructions, other kinds of knowledge are required. Theories of social life, for example, help to interpret areas which narrative inquiry is good at revealing about human experiences such as the animation of temporality, sociality and place (Clandinin, J., V. Caine, A. Estefan, J. Huber, M. S. Murphy, and P. Steeves. 2015. ‘Places of Practice: Learning to Think Narratively.’ Narrative Works 5 (1). Accessed November 30, 2017. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/NW/issue/view/1799). Drawing on interviews with practice educators and final-year undergraduate early childhood education and care (ECEC) students in North-West Ireland, this paper considers how narrative inquiry and education theories work together to illuminate key learning experiences of ECEC undergraduate students during 12-week practice placements. In this paper I attempt to show how two education theories – ‘Threshold Concepts’ and ‘Communities of Practice’ – shed light on the nature of these key learning experiences. The paper suggests that narrative inquiry offers an emancipatory research approach by uncovering human and reflective elements of learning journeys made by ECEC students during their practice placements.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Early childhood education and care; professional development; narrative inquiry

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Social Work


20 March 2018Accepted
5 May 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 May 2018 09:29

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2020 12:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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